August Nature Notebook

We started using the Handbook of Nature Study (HONS) on a regular basis this year. I\’ve had this formidable looking book for awhile but because we live in Australia and there are numerous sections of the book which are not applicable to us, I just didn\’t get into it and it basically stayed on the shelf.
Then I came across the and found Barb\’s Getting Started articles and the Outdoor Hour Challenges. 
I printed out the challenges and read the sections Barb had suggested and that helped me to get started.
The blog also has a link to an online version of HONS so if you are not a resident of North America you can have a look to see its contents. 
I prefer the book version which I bought new from the Book Depository.

I\’d been looking back over the challenges which would relate to the season we were in here but when I saw this month\’s challenges I thought we could participate. We\’re in the last days of winter but we have more flowers at this time of the year in our garden than we do in summer so we focused on these.
 Dragonwing Begonias
We only seem to be able grow these plants in pots but they flower continually. It\’s easy to propagate these – just snip a piece off, pop in water & when you see some roots put them in a pot. They don\’t like full sun, seem to thrive with very little care and give us a continual show of flowers….unless the chooks get out – they love the leaves.

It will take a few weeks for the roots to grow and when it looks like this you can plant it.


Other flowering plants which propagate well are geraniums, nodding violet, fuschias – in fact any flower with a fleshy sort of stem. We usually cut multiple sections as sometimes some just die.
Native Iris (Patersonia occidentalis) – an Australian native also known as purple flag.

A journal entry by my 7 year old daughter showing her drawings of the native iris and camellia japonica.
We found some cattails on a friend\’s property and using the HONS we did a sudy on those. This is my 17 year old son\’s journal entry.
Cattail (Typha)  is known as bulrush, wonga and cumbungi in Australia and is a valuable bush tucker food, the roots being a good source of starch.


Camellias in flower
The Usborne First Book of Knowledge uses simple illustrations and information and is great for younger children.

A daphne plant flowering on the side of the road

 We studied the parts of a flower

We generally don\’t take our nature journals along on our nature walks as they tend to turn into climbing and exploring expeditions. I just let them explore and take photos, identify trees and plants and enjoy being outside. We\’ve usually plenty of material for journaling close to home or we bring something home to sketch – this seems to work best for us.
One of the older boys is up on the large rock on the right and two follow behind.

 Younger sister decides to tag along.

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

6 thoughts on “August Nature Notebook

  1. I really enjoyed looking at your flowers! The iris and the camellia are so pretty. One of my favorite fragrances is the daphne flower….so sweet!Thank you for sharing a glimpse into your nature study this August and I hope with the changed format for the OHC you will be able to participate with us more regularly.


  2. I love all of your flowers! I have one very small gardenia, and it's doing well but growing so slowly. I love them and I'm so eager for it to hurry up and grow! We have a couple of Usborne nature books, too, and they have such wonderful illustrations. The HBNS is great for in depth stuff but of course because of it's age it lacks in the same sorts of illustrations. Anyway, a lovely post about your nature study!


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